By Emmanuel Mogbede
Lokoja, July 23, 2020 The Kogi Government says it will partner with other states of the Federation to harness its solid mineral deposits which are currently under-exploited.
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi said this on Thursday in Lokoja when the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals and Metallurgy paid him a courtesy visit.
Naija247news reports that Mr Edward Onoja, the State Deputy Governor, received members of the committee, on behalf of the governor.
The Kogi Governor said that the state was not just a confluence state but a state full of confluence of opportunities because of the over 30 different mineral deposits in it.
“As a matter of fact, only a few out of this solid minerals are being exploited, majority are yet untapped, this is to say that solid minerals in the state are still very much under-exploited and unexploited,” he said.
Bello said that the state was doing everything possible to draw attention to its mineral deposits, prioritise it and make it a major revenue earner.
“Kogi state is inviting local and foreign investors in solid minerals mining and operators to come to the state and invest in the solid minerals resources of their choice,” he said.
The governor expressed hope that with the renewed commitment of the Federal Government to resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel Company, it would be fully operational before the tenure of the present administration ends.
Earlier, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said that both the Executive and the Legislature would ensure that Ajaokuta Steel Company was resuscitated and became operational.
“I commend members of the committee for their encouragement and support. There is a bright future for all Nigerians when the complex is resuscitated and starts production in full capacity,” Adegbite added.
The minister noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had limited government’s ability to go forward on the Ajaokuta Steel project, saying that it was four to five months behind its planned schedule to resuscitate the complex.
This, he said, was specifically so because Russian experts who were to undertake the complex’s technical audit could not come into the country because of the pandemic and the ban on international flights.
Adegbite added that because of the complexity of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, online audit was not possible as people had to be physically present.
Sen. Umaru Almakura, the committee Chairman, said it was in the state on a fact finding mission to ascertain the situation of things at Ajaokuta Steel Company.
“We are here to look at what is on ground and to see the measures that have been taken and progress made to resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel Company, so we will know the next steps to take,” Almakura said.
He said that the company was of serious concern to the Federal Government, adding that its resolution to resuscitate the complex was unshaken.
NAN reports that the complex which is on 24,000 hectares of land in Ajaokuta, 38km from Lokoja the Kogi capital, is tagged “Bedrock of Nigeria’s Industrialisation”.
The complex which is over 90 per cent completed is designed to produce iron and liquid steel from mines at Itakpe in Kogi, some 52km from Ajaokuta.
NAN reports that the Federal Government is banking on the Russians to resuscitate the complex because they were its original builders.
Russians are pledging 450 million dollars while Afrexim Bank is pledging 1 billion dollars, totaling 1.45 billion dollars to fix Ajaokuta and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO).
The complex, conceived in 1976, was aimed at establishing a metallurgical process plant and engineering complex with other facilities.
The company is meant to generate important upstream and downstream industrial and economic activities that are critical to the industrialisation of Nigeria.